Well folks, here’s the proof. Picking plants is as easy as it sounds.
Firstly, you need a solid ID on the plant. Oregon Grape does have a distinctive look, but I still recommend consulting a trusted field guide just to be sure. (I use Pojar and McKinnon’s Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast.) With OG we are looking for shiny evergreen leaves with needle-like points, arranged in a jaunty alternating leaf pattern. Oregon grape pops out of the forest floor in little stands. I think it likes to be with friends.
When you come upon a healthy looking stand that seems amenable to the idea-
Dig down below the duff at the base of a plant and grasp the root stalk. Oregon grape sends out horizontal “runner” type roots, so as you pull, you may have to follow it. I like to get my hands down in there and work it out gently, this causes less breakage, so you will end up with more root for your trouble. It will break off at some point whatever remains in the ground will sprout a new plant. Great design, huh?
Once the root is free, I clip the foliage off and place the roots in my bag. At home that night, I sort the roots and give them a bath and a good scrub down.
Now they are ready to be chopped and tinctured or dried.
Next week’s topic- Why would I want to pick Oregon Grape Root?